NGOs urge search for Lao activist Sombath Somphone

NGOs urge search for Lao activist Sombath Somphone

About 20 Thai and Lao activists gather in Bangkok on Dec 26, 2016 to call on Lao authorities to speed up their probe into the disappearance of prominent Lao activist Sombath Somphone. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
About 20 Thai and Lao activists gather in Bangkok on Dec 26, 2016 to call on Lao authorities to speed up their probe into the disappearance of prominent Lao activist Sombath Somphone. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Human rights groups have renewed calls for a full investigation into the disappearance of a well-known community organiser four years ago at a police checkpoint in Vientiane.

More than 130 rights organisations from around the world issued a statement on Thursday calling on the Lao government to provide information about the fate of Sombath Somphone and 10 other activists who were detained or simply disappeared over the past decade.

Laos is a secretive one-party state whose Communist leaders have quashed political dissent since taking power in 1975.

Sombath went missing in the evening of Dec 15, 2012 on the busy streets of Vientiane. He was last seen getting into a police vehicle on that night.

Lao authorities have not re-examined the case despite a newly discovered security camera video of Sombath's car on the day he disappeared and US pressure during a visit by President Barack Obama to the country in September.

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